From today (29th March) gay marriages will be legal in the UK, making it a positive day for same sex couples who wish to marry in exactly the same way as opposite sex couples. While same sex couples have had the option of a Civil Partnership since 2005, some argued that, if you have to give something a different name, then it doesn’t represent equality. Another issue with Civil Partnerships was that religious readings, music or symbols were not allowed. So, while a Civil Partnership offered the same legal rights as a marriage, many same sex couples have been waiting for the day when the playing field was truly levelled – and that day has now come.
Gay couples may now be dreaming of their ultimate wedding day, and for some that will mean a beautiful beach wedding. Thomas Cook offers amazing wedding holidays, with packages to some of the world’s most stunning destinations. However, it’s important to remember that, while gay marriage is now legal in the UK, the situation worldwide varies. In order to get married as a same sex couple abroad, your country of choice also needs to have legalised gay marriage.
Even if your dream wedding destination has legalised gay marriage, it can still be difficult for couples, both same and opposite sex, to marry there, due to the various rules and red tape that different countries have in place. For example, marrying in Paris or in a French châteaux may appeal, but France has a 40 day residency rule before a marriage license will be granted. Similarly, Spain is a popular holiday destination with Brits but the tangle of red tape for non-residents to marry there can make it difficult.
Gay marriage is legal in Portugal but as with Spain and France, it’s important to check the current residency rules. The Algarve in particular offers some beautifully romantic places to marry, including white sand beaches, dramatic cliff tops, luxury beachfront hotels and rustic farmhouses. One popular venue is the Lady of the Rock, Senhora Da Rocha, Porches, where you can say your vows on top of a cliff, with stunning panoramic views of the turquoise waters below. At just 18km from popular Albufeira, and 10km from Lagoa, this stunning location is easy to reach too.
One popular choice for Brits is South Africa, where the breathtaking scenery makes for wonderful wedding backdrops, and getting permission to marry should be smooth sailing, with no minimum stay. Or how about tying the knot in the Big Apple? New York is one of 17 US states that has legalized gay marriage – but if you fancied a Vegas wedding then unfortunately that’s not on the list.
Getting married abroad is the dream for many couples, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be an option for same sex couples too. An expert advisor at Thomas Cook will be able to help create your ultimate wedding day, whether as bride and groom, bride and bride or groom and groom!